Recent history suggests direction Giants should go with No. 2 pick

Recent history suggests direction Giants should go with No. 2 pick

SAN FRANCISCO — Pablo Sandoval said he wanted to cry as he rounded the bases and headed for the plate after a walk-off homer Sunday. Somewhere at AT&T Park, there were probably a few team officials who felt the same. 

The Giants never actively tanked — they did the opposite, in fact — but they did finish just one loss away from the No. 1 pick in the draft. That didn't just cost them a chance to pick first, it also chopped about $500,000 off their draft bonus pool. A few minutes after Sandoval clinched win No. 64, the Tigers lost their 98th game, capping a truly horrendous month of September. They owned the tiebreaker by percentage points, having finished one win behind the Giants last season (the teams both had 75 losses but the Tigers only played 161 games). 

The Giants have picked in the top two of the draft just once in their history and it worked out well. They took Will Clark second overall in 1985. A year later, Matt Williams was their selection with the third pick in the draft. Jason Grilli (fourth in 1997) and Buster Posey (fifth in 2008) are the only other top-five picks in franchise history. 

Recent history says they’ll get a very talented player who should develop into one of the game’s top prospects. Here’s a look at the last 10 guys who were selected second overall … 

2017: Hunter Greene, Reds (in the minors)

2016: Nick Senzel, Reds (in the minors, currently MLB Pipeline’s No. 8 prospect)

2015: Alex Bregman, Astros (worth 3.8 WAR this season)

2014: Tyler Kolek, Marlins (in low minors, lost a year to Tommy John)

2013: Kris Bryant, Cubs (was the 2016 NL MVP)

2012: Byron Buxton, Twins (worth 3.5 WAR this season)

2011: Danny Hultzen, Mariners (retired because of injuries)

2010: Jameson Taillon, Pirates (4.44 ERA in 25 starts this season)

2009: Dustin Ackley, Mariners (was in AAA after six years in Majors)

2008: Pedro Alvarez, Pirates (154 big league homers but never became a star)

If you go back a few more years, you can add Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon and Justin Verlander to the list. There are also quite a few busts, obviously. The draft is an inexact science, although the last few drafts probably suggest the Giants should go with a position player to minimize the risk. They have until next June to figure out what they want to do.

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

SAN FRANCISCO — The field at AT&T Park is covered with patches and small piles of dirt right now, showing the signs of a winter hosting holiday parties and concerts, and a week with plenty of rain. 

For Evan Longoria, though, that grass was a beautiful sight.

A month after a trade that had him switching coasts, Longoria was introduced at a press conference at AT&T Park and ran the usual gauntlet with team employees and season-ticket holders. He spent some time this week looking for housing in the Bay Area, but soon he’ll be back in Scottsdale, getting to know new teammates and preparing his body for the 2018 season. 

Longoria said his workouts have been a bit different with a new staff, but the goal remains the same. He is a player who prides himself on taking the field every day, and that’s one of the traits that drew the Giants to Longoria. He has played at least 156 games in five consecutive seasons, and 160 in four of those seasons. 

It’s no accident that Bruce Bochy has mentioned durability during every media session this season. Andrew McCutchen has a similar track record, and the Giants lineup certainly could use some stability, especially at third base, where seven different players made double-digit starts last season. Longoria will change that. 

“I have a desire to play every day, and I think that that is infectious,” he said. “Players that may feel the grind of a long season or might be in a little bit of a funk offensively or defensively or with pitching, something like that can give you a boost when you have guys around that you know come to play and compete on a daily basis, no matter what the circumstance is.”

[RELATED: Just a number? Longoria says slow down with concerns of Giants' aging roster]

For Longoria, who turned 32 early in the offseason, the circumstance has changed for the better. After years on the unforgiving turf at The Trop, he comes to a park and division featuring nothing but natural grass. 

“I hope it helps,” he said. “Going on the road (with the Rays), my body definitely felt better when I played on grass. I’m sure that it will help. It’s definitely not going to be a negative. Not playing on the turf anymore is something that crossed my mind as soon as the trade happened.”

Longoria expects to benefit from another aspect of AT&T Park, too. The Rays finished dead last in the majors last year with an average of 15,670 fans per game. Even though their sellout streak ended, the Giants still had an average of more than 40,000 per night. Asked about playing outdoors, Longoria smiled and added, “in front of fans.”

“The environment here is obviously much different, so it’s going to be nice to step into that on a daily basis and play in front of a fan base that’s obviously very storied,” he said. “It helps with energy. It helps with motivation.”

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

Andrew McCutchen has been one of the best players in the National League for years now. The 31-year-old is a five-time All-Star and was named the 2013 NL MVP. 

Not only do his stats stand out, McCutchen is also one of the most entertaining players in baseball. And that's clearly going to continue in San Francisco. 

On Thursday, McCutchen was asked about the famous seagulls of San Francisco flying around the outfield at AT&T Park. 

"I definitely made a few friends out there over the years. Steve the Seagull out there, I know him," McCutchen said on KNBR. "He comes in every now and then. We have a little pow-wow when I come to San Francisco. Yeah, we get along well, me and the guys, me and the birds. They know when to come in that's for sure." 

Denard Span, who the Giants traded to acquire Evan Longoria, had a much different relationship with the seagulls. 

McCutchen is clearly the opposite of Span in this regard though. He seems about as calm as can be when it comes to the birds paying him a visit. 

"They chill, we have some conversations. It's all good," says McCutchen. 

One other aspect McCutchen can't wait for in the outfield at AT&T Park, is getting to know all the fans. Specifically, not being a part of a special chant Giants fans have for opposing outfielders. 

"I'm lookin' forward to fans not callin' me bums anymore," McCutchen said with a laugh. "I'm glad I'm on the winning side. I'm glad I'm on the San Francisco Giants side. I can't wait to meet all the fans."